Film Spree

I’ve been watching moar movies since I’ve given up romance (both the writing and the seeking), and I’m enjoying this very much. Many flix are dreck, sure, but still it’s fun to relax and put one on, choosing from the vast Prime pool as well as my own mini-library. It’s a much better way to spend an evening than forcing myself to write yet another cute-meet or chat with some doofus who will eventually annoy me beyond belief. (I do think the writing and the seeking are related, which I’ll discuss in upcoming bloggery). I’ve also noticed that I’m reading fewer online articles, specifically these types:

– How to seduce a man
– How to keep a man
– How to cook for a man
– How to dress for a man
– How to undress for a man
– How to talk to a man
– How to argue with a man
– How to change everything about yourself so a man will love you
– How to change everything about yourself so you will be able to tolerate his annoyingness
– How to avoid accidentally stabbing him in his sleep
– How to find a good criminal defense attorney

Anyway. At first I was picking random movies, some romance, some comedy, some drama… but that was so chaotic. So, I found the 400 films nominated for inclusion in the American whatsit and decided to watch those. Surprisingly (or maybe not), a lot of them are crap. Many aren’t available as part of my Prime subscription, yada. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to plow methodically through the list, so I watched them willy-nilly for a few days then returned to the random picks. Here are some I liked, in no particular order:

– Changeling
– Good Will Hunting
– High Infidelity
– An Unfinished Life
– Clutter
– Gimme Shelter
– Sense & Sensibility
– Murder of a Cat
– Night Falls on Manhattan
– The Brass Teapot
– The Pill

Looking forward to loads moar movies!

Safety, Revisited

At the beginning of the month, I blarped about Emotional Safety, and just recently on Facebook a friend began a discussion about safety generally. What makes you feel safe in this scary old world?

My answer was nothing ~ nothing makes me feel safe. It’s easy for me to freak myself out about all the badness lurking out there (or in here, as the case may be). The biggest worry for me is that something terrible will happen to one or both of my daughters. But it would be pretty damn awful for me to get in a bad accident or get horribly ill, and then they’d have to cope with it in whatever way.

But it’s not true that before kids I was some kind of crazy risk-taker. I definitely was not. When I was 23, my boss asked me if I would drive her Porsche from A to B because she wanted to go with some man to talk biz (yah right). I refused. I knew I’d scratch it, or worse, and get blamed. That was my mindset back then, even when I was young and had no dependents. Maybe this was partly from a lack of self-confidence and also a generalized clumsiness. I didn’t want to take responsibility for other people’s things.

Nothing has changed in 30+ years! I still would not want to drive someone’s luxury car or keep their pile of jewels while they were on vacation. No thank you. So, that’s one kind of fear ~ the worry I’ll wreck or lose someone’s stuff and get sued or shot or something. It’s not an issue that comes up though, since I’m not friends with Porsche owners, etc.

What does come up? Fear of losing my job (it can happen to anyone, no matter how long you’ve been at a place). Fear of a major expensive illness (even with insurance ~ you know how that goes). Fear of these creepy hackers and identity thieves who empty people’s bank accounts. And I’m sorry, but hackers are NOT heroes, they’re assholes and anarchists, so be careful rah-rahhing them when they dox people you dislike, cuz you are next. All these fears could be relieved by winning the lottery, I suppose. I should play more often.

Then there’s the fear of a bad car accident, which is not irrational, since there are always accidents, no matter how carefully one drives. Though driving carefully lowers the odds significantly and I am a pretty slow and cautious driver. There are also non-driving accidents ~ I feel I’m fragile due to lack of physical strength and balance, so I have a fear of heights/falling, etc. This is not irrational either. I’m getting old, and old people often fall down and hurt themselves significantly.

Do I go around all day freaked out about this stuff? No, of course not. But the Q did come up, so it’s been bouncing around in my brainpan. Oh, speaking of that, probably my biggest fear is of Alzheimer’s. My father had it, and it was horrible. I’m already dreamy and spacey, walk into walls, get lost finding the bathroom in a strange house, forget what I’ve come into rooms for, need lists and reminders for everything, etc. I know those are mostly not Alz symptoms, but simply traits of an aging person who lives inside her head, yet even so. I used to remember more things without written reminders and calendar dings.

I sometimes wonder if using cell phones and e-calendars and apps and stuff actually impairs our ability to focus and pay attention the way we used to before. I know I have a hard time concentrating on a movie at home cuz the phone is there and I have to google things, check Facebook, take my WwF move, return a text, etc. while watching. But in the theater, where you’re not allowed to mess with your phone, I have no trouble focusing on the screen for 2 solid hours.

What were we talking about again?

Not To Be Dramatic or Anything…

…but I have a pretty terrible injury.

“Pretty terrible” being relative, of course. Relative to my usual physical state of unrelenting neck pain and blinding migraines. Not comparing myself to peeps with REAL INJURIES. A week ago Friday I was making my bed before work, stumbled into a corner of the bench I have at the end of the bed, and got an owie on my left shin. This bench was made decades ago by my mom ~ she bought a hunk of raw oak and sanded/polished it into this cool double table-ish thinger I have used variously over the years for a stuffed aminal repository, writing folder stash spot, coffee table, etc.

Of course my initial reaction was oh fuck ow ow ow ~ I knew the goddamn thing was there, was even vaguely thinking about not klonking into it, but I don’t haz the greatest balance. Never did, but it’s worse now from the all the headaches and the meds and the intermittent ear problems. I finished getting ready for work and then I looked at my leg ~ the owie had puffed up into a ball. WTF? I went to the office and put ice on my shin for a few minutes. It stayed swollen all day. (I realize now I did not ice it enough.)

Over the weekend, the swelling went down some, but a massive bruise began spreading around and down the injury site. I had my annual appointment at the gyno on Monday, so I warned her I had an icky. Because you know… gynos… might get totally freaked out by something gross, right? First thing, she asked if someone had beaten me up (I should be so lucky). No, I told her, I’m just stupid. She called the injury a “hematoma,” which sounds really scary. Broken blood vessel/s yada. She said it looked to be healing properly, but it would take a long time to finish, and I should expect the bruising to spread even more as the blood ooshed around waiting to be reabsorbed. If the swelling began to get worse, I should go for x-rays.

I’ve been googling like mad, natch, and have found a lot of people with sports injuries identical to this. The online medical consensus seems to be that the bruise will take a month to disappear and the swelling two or more months to go down completely. I have been documenting this ickiness with selfies ~ don’t worry, not sharing ~ and it’s interesting to watch the discoloration spread down into my foot and around the side of my leg. It’s all purple and green and yellow and horrible. Plus the swelling itself has subsided into a small(ish) painful knot. According to the internut, I should be resting a lot with my leg elevated and applying warmth. So, I’m doing that, somewhat.

I also bought a bunch of maxi skirts because I’m tired of wearing pants. If I went in public with my leg bare, people would run away screaming. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I generally prefer no attention “out there.” The skirts are very pretty and now I crave new boots too! Winter is coming. I also need to start walking again this weekend, at least a little, because I’m feeling even more slothy than usual.

It’s always something, ain’t it?

The Color Oracle

Try the fun quiz at the Color Oracle. I did it on my phone and later on my laptop. Unfortunately I could not replicate the phone results exactly. I’m going to C&P some of the lines I thought most relevant to my life.

“You are prepared to learn anything as long as it can be practically applied and it serves your personal development.” ~ as long as it doesn’t require much effort

“You carefully scrutinize everything that crosses your path, and you don’t say yes to it until it has passed your acid test. You decidedly and resolutely fend off everything that could hinder your personal development, and you keep your distance from unpleasant people who try to manipulate, define or influence you.” ~ hell yeah, and about time too

“You believe you have the “magic formula” for achieving unadulterated happiness, namely…” ~ ooh ooh what?!

“…loving attention. You attempt to use your kindness to gain the affection of other people, and thanks to your charming ways, you usually succeed.” ~ idk about this one… charming ways? :D

“At the moment you feel most anxious due to your……adverse existential uncertainty.” ~ they define this as financial insecurity, but that isn’t what existential uncertainty means

“You often study your problems, going round in circles, and have difficulty shutting off this mental merry-go-round.” ~ definitely me!

“You try to adopt a thick skin, but you get worked up all the same and have a tendency to make mountains out of molehills.” ~ yep

“At the moment, you are in quite bad spirits due to your……inhibiting limitations. Difficult circumstances limit your opportunities for experience and your freedom of action.” ~ not really in bad spirits, but chronic pain wears you out and limits opportunities for experience

“You expect far too much understanding for your needs from other people, and as a result, you often feel disappointed. You might ask yourself how much understanding and empathy you extend to others.” ~ oh fuck that… it’s all about ME ME ME

Hmph.

Color Oracle

South on Highland

I read Liana Maeby’s book South on Highland a few days ago. It’s hard to explain how I felt about it ~ basically, loved the writing and disliked the story. How does that make any sense? Idk, but it’s the best I can do.

Maeby’s writing is fresh and interesting. She really knows how to develop a story. Pacing, metaphors, style… all that. Wonderful!

But I simply did not like the story she told. This may be the first time I could so clearly separate writing from story in this direction. Many times, I’ve started to enjoy a story but didn’t finish the book because the writing was so awful. I’m sure you’ve been there too. The plot/characters were interesting, but there were so many errors in spelling/tense/grammar that I couldn’t focus. Not the case with Maeby ~ her writing is perfect.

It’s not that Maeby’s protag was merely unlikeable ~ I actively despised her. I knew I couldn’t hope she would die because it was in first person, but still… ughhh. Spoiled princess abuses substances to the extreme, squanders her talent, goes to rehab. Loads of promiscuous and stupid sex. Creepy and despicable supporting cast. Etc. We’ve all read a story like this before and seen one on TV. Yet… yet… the writing was so damn good. I had to finish the book.

And finally… the ending. A semi-redemption. Not going to say a word about it because I think you should read this book for the writing and I hope the ending blows you away too. It didn’t cause me to like the protag any better but goddamn was that a surprise and… it made me envious that someone could write like that. When I start to feel those green claws scratching at me, I know I’ve discovered a good writer.

I found this interview of Maeby and was happy to see that SoH was less of a memoir than I had assumed. It made me like the author more to read that she spent three years writing this book, sober, and the story began as a satire of the recovery culture, but morphed into something serious. Cool. I can totally see the seeds of satire now that she said this. It really is over the top. OK. So, I’ve followed Maeby on Amazon and Twitter (she’s fucking funny, yo), and I’ll read her next book, hoping for a story that appeals to me.

Disclosure: I gave SoH only 3 stars on Goodreads, but I don’t think of that as a “bad” rating. Three stars means you liked the book. That was my compromise between loving the writing and hating the story. Two stars means it was okay, and I wanted to give more than that. But 4 is really liked it and 5 is amazing, so those would not have been accurate. (One is did not like.) I think Amazon has a better 5-star system: hate, dislike, okay, like, love. On that system, SoH gets a 4-star rating.

More Parasitical Relationships

My last poast got me thinking about human parasites and the kind of situations that are all taking and no giving. This could be an obvious financial parasitism or something less easily defined ~ the emotional parasite.

Sometimes they’re called emotional vampires ~ people who drain your energy without giving anything in return. Here is a most excellent essay by one of my favorite writers Mark Manson wherein he describes emotional vampires in detail.

Emotional vampires exhibit three specific traits simultaneously: an excessive need for validation/attention from others, the belief that little to nothing that occurs is their fault, and the lack of self-awareness to recognize their self-defeating patterns. [Mark Manson]

Mark goes on to describe the traits very specifically, how toxic they are to be around, and how they play off and reinforce each other. There’s the typical mantra of “no one understands how special I am” ad nauseam until people get fed up with the EV and walk away, thus “proving” that he is a victim yada yada.

This combination of behaviors is insidious. The excessive need for validation leads to anti-social behavior, which leads to negative reactions from others, which leads the emotional vampire to blame others and feel even more victimized, which then leads to an even deeper need for validation, and then even more anti-social behavior, and so on… [MM]

Mark reminds us that if we are saying at any point in the article, yeah yeah, but seriously I do have this problem that isn’t my fault and no one gets it bla bla, then you need to STOP, scroll back up, and begin again cuz you are one of them. He also describes how easy it is to get out of the “shit spiral” (love his coinages!) and start acting like a decent human being who has something to offer others.

I confess I found MM’s article inadvertently when googling “emotional vampire” for this bloggery. I figured I’d quote a definition from Psych Today or wherever and then jabber on merrily about my own ideas. But then I got caught up in reading Mark’s piece, realized that he’d said it all perfectly, and I might as well just vampirize it for myself. :D

Anyway, I’ve met a handful of EVs, most of them during the last several years while trying to date post-divorce. Men who are all about themselves and blame everyone else for their problems. I’m a victim! No one gets me! Yuck. Once you have the definition clearly in mind it’s easy to spot an EV from a mile away, and stay away from him or her.

Of course, MM does throw out this zinger in the middle of his essay…

Once again, we see that in emotional relationships like attracts like, and the old adage is true: that if everyone you date is crazy, then it probably means you’re crazy.

Sigh. Good thing I’ve quit dating then, eh?

Kitty Kondo 1

I wrote this last summer for a private publication. It explains why I threw out my old kitty tree. I know y’all were dying of curiosity.

~*~

The Squirmy River of Denial

[Trigger warning: grossness ahead. Do not, I repeat, do NOT read while eating.]

So around a month ago I saw some weird white things on my cat Gatsby’s butt. Immediately I thought the worst: tapew*rms. But then just as immediately I decided, no, that can’t be it because I hate and am terrified of w*rms more than anything [take note any Orwells]. I went googling, as you do, and found out that boy cats sometimes have “excretions” and I thought oh of course, how silly of me to have thought the Other Thing. Probably I leapt there because of my phobia.

How could Gatsby have w*rms anyway? I grok the flea vector whatchamacallit and he hasn’t been outside, except for that one time when I put him in a leash/harness contraption and took him for a drag two months ago. Except for that. One. Time.

Once.

That’s all it takes for a lot of things, as we are supposed to learn at age 12.

From time to time over the next few weeks I saw a weird white thing on Mr. G and wiped it away. Until Saturday night over Labor Day Weekend. The weird white thing moved. OMG! I stood there paralyzed with shock. Saturday night. Holiday weekend. What the heck was I going to do? I googled up emergency vets. Found one in Huntington Beach. They said I could come in. I realized at that point I would spend any amount of money to make this go away, and it was on.

I squashed poor Gatsby in his cardboard carrier and headed out. Made it halfway down the first flight of stairs when the carrier broke. The whole bottom had come unglued. Like my brain. I did have a fleeting thought that I could wait until the next week to deal with this in a sensible way, get a new carrier, etc. NO! Completely out of the question. I grabbed Gatsby, who was like, dude, I am not digging this spontaneous adventure one iota, went back inside and stuck him in the leash/harness contraption, which in some kind of disgusting cosmic circle had caused this entire problem.

OK, I put him in the car and told him to stay in the back seat. He jumped into the back window and sang the song of his people for the entire half-hour ride. So far so good. Well, goodness being relative, natch. In the vet’s office, people thought he was awesome for being on a leash and not even fussing at the doggies all there for bloody noses and such. Real emergencies, in other words.

The first thing that happened was the discovery in the examining room by the tech that Gatsby has lost weight, about 2 pounds, which is a large percentage for a 12-pound creature. Now I felt like a terrible kitty mommy for not dealing with this earlier. My poor baby! It also cemented the fact that we were dealing with w*rms and shattered my last sliver of hope it could be anything else. You know, like the squirmy mucus virus or something.

Finally, the vet came in, a super-nice man who wanted to talk about Gatsby, the movie. Please, no, just give us drugs. Then he opened his super-cool doctor’s book to explain about the whole flea-tapew*rm-mammal cycle, which I already knew about, but he was so excited to discuss it, gibbering how neato it was that a million years of evolution had led to this bizarrely complex system, etc. And the book had illustrations! OMG. Drugs, please, now. Then he said how we would definitely have a thorough treatment plan because ha ha he didn’t want me to get them.

OMG OMG OMG

Already my throat was itchy as if… you know. THEM.

(I know it’s not like that. But this is a phobia, people. Work with me here.)

When the tech brought in the treatment plan contract, I signed it instantly. I would have signed anything. And she gave Gatsby oral meds and a shot. Yes! Finally. I have an anti-flea pill to give him when the apparently ineffective OTC flea meds I used wear off, and once a month thereafter he must take the pill. Translation: I must grab him and stuff it down his throat, after which he will bite me viciously. I have to return to the vet’s for one and possibly two more rounds of meds, depending on his stool sample next time, which I have to collect (blech).

OK done. Time to drive home. I told Gatsby he was a very good boy and to stay in the backseat again. But he crawled onto my lap after I got on the 405. That was interesting… let’s just sum up by noting I am alive to write this. And I went out the next day and bought a plastic carrier.

The rest of my holiday weekend? Was spent dismantling my entire apartment, cleaning, vacuuming , and flea-spraying everything, and twice. I threw out his kitty tree because I couldn’t clean it thoroughly. I summoned superhuman strength to drag it down the stairs to the dumpster and also to dismantle my bed and flip the mattress around. Don’t talk to me about poison. Do.Not.Care. There is only one thing that matters here.

My throat is still itchy…

~*~

They haven’t returned, thank gawd.

I waited almost a year before I bought a new kitty tree.

Kitty Kondo 2

It occurs to me that my readers might not remember there was a previous kitty tree because I have avoided discussing that traumatic experience here. I did write about it for a private publication however, and I will share that soon under the title of Kitty Kondo 1. Yes, the poasts will be out of date order! Deal with it, please.

Moving on. I did indeed receive my Amazon cat tree order on Friday and I put it together myself Friday night. Since then it has been largely ignored by the kitteh in residence, but that will change, I hope.

Of course Gatsby lurved the box.

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All the pieces…

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Remarkably understandable directions…

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Midway assembly point. Note that an old Barbara Eden flick is on the TV. Called Hunted Woman, I think. Incredibly bad acting and photography. Not sure why the film quality was so awful, like home-movie quality awful, but Barbara looked beautiful anyway, especially during this one scene where she was dancing wildly in a sky blue slinky dress with gigantic emeralds flashing at her throat. Her hair was super-long and nearly platinum blonde like it was during the last couple seasons of IDOJ. She was supposed to be an heiress who something something murder and hospital and her husband may or may not have been bla bla shady investments and weird cute man who followed her et cetera. Worth it to see the dance scene, my summary.

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All done! Yay me! I love the ramp ~ Gatsby doesn’t need it now, but as he grows older he may appreciate the convenience. :D

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Why I Quit WW

You may have noticed that I don’t do Wordless Wednesday anymore, even though some of my bloggity friends still do. It’s not an oversight, but a conscious decision. There are other places where I post photos, like Instagram, which is all about pics, and sometimes Facebook and Twitter. But my blog is the last place where I can jibber on and on and on and on in public without feeling intrusive, so I like being about to do the word-thing. You can just click away and I won’t know. I don’t try to be interesting or non-annoying here. I just do what I do. Other places, I write to an audience. Used to on blogs, in the old days, but not now with such a small readership.

Lest you think I’m disrepecting you, I’ll confess that I recently created a private blog, where I note every excruciatingly boring detail of my day as it relates to having or not having a migraine in the scant hope of finding ways to get some relief. I keep that hidden away because it’s too tedious for anyone who is not-me.

I will, however, note here if there is any significant development in the headache area. I just ordered this foofy mini-mister and two aromatherapy oils, so I will likely drone on about that soon. I’ve also switched to organic produce, which has not made a difference so far, but seems like a good idea in any case. And it’s been over a month since I’ve had any artificial sugar ~ no improvement in frequency or severity of headaches.

(I like calling migraines headaches to annoy the loons who say we aren’t allowed to.)

I also ordered an adorable cat tree condo thingie for Gatsby. He hasn’t had one for a while and I can’t wait to see how excited he gets about it. Maybe there will be a pic…

It is Wednesday and I am not wordless. It’s also late, and I’m very tired from Amazoning, so I’m not going to google a cute image to include with this poast.

Goodnight.

Emotional Safety

We were yabbering about emotional safety in the comments to my last poast. I was saying that it made me feel emotionally unsafe to be verbally attacked by a “friend” out of the blue when I’ve done nothing but be nice to him. (It’s irrelevant whether the attack comes via phone or email or message or whatever, so the fact that I had my number available to friends is not the point.) The question arose… well, what is emotional safety then?

In Psychology Today, James D. Huysman writes:

Emotional safety comes from within us.  It is the “knowing” of what we’re feeling; the ability to be able to identify our feelings and then take the ultimate risk of feeling them. Granted, in the presence of war, childhood neglect, trauma, and abuse of all kinds, we may never have known the feeling of being safe at all.   It may be absolutely foreign to us.  And so we may believe that safety is a dream that will never come true.

So, ES has two components. One, we need to be aware of our own feelings. Two, we take the risk of expressing them. When we’re repeatedly belittled, mocked, denigrated, screamed at, etc., we might hesitate in expressing our feelings and ultimately reach a point where we shut down altogether. After SB told me I was a loathsome POS (for having procreated, since he wants the human race to die out), I felt I had better quit interacting with strangers on the intertubes. I didn’t feel emotionally safe with the idea of extending the hand of friendship again after SB’s diatribe. It wasn’t what he said (which is clearly idiotic), but the shock of someone I’d never had a cross word with suddenly going on the offense.

I’m not sure I’m over the shock several days later, though I probably will get over it at some point. I almost always bounce back clean and scrubbed shortly after getting hit with a shit shower.

Here’s another example: I feel emotionally unsafe WRT dating sites. So many men in my age group have anger issues and it’s really hard to shrug off a verbal attack to smile happily for the next dude. I can’t do it anymore. I think I’ve documented here several times about how I’ve been subject to horrible verbal abuse simply for telling a guy that I didn’t think we were a match. We can laugh about what a nutcase each one is, but taken together it’s just too much. The last several times I’ve tried to interact with someone online for dating purposes I was too paranoid and shaky even to set up a meeting.

It’s funny because I’ve weathered so many bad things this past decade and I seem like a very centered, tough person. I’ve dealt with so so much. Yet, these days I can’t handle discord. I feel like I’m 5 years old again and my parents are yelling at each other while I pretend to sleep. My whole world is cracking apart, halp halp! It really doesn’t make any sense, right? Why would some dickhead from Match dot com telling me to go fuck myself have an emotional impact? I’ll never see the guy; this has no effect on my life at all. And yet, these days, I find it terribly upsetting.

Idk. Maybe I’m turning into some ridiculously delicate flower as I head into the sunset years. Who knows. But like any rational creature I find myself avoiding stressful situations and seeking out pleasant ones. I feel no desire to overcome my fears and triumph over adversity, rah rah! No thanks. I’ll just wallow here in the sunlit garden by myself, or with the small number of peeps who have proven themselves to be emotionally safe for me.

Delicate flower2

Delicate flower